“But that’s impossible.” Doctor Beverly Crusher’s voice was soft and unsure.
“I agree with you, Doctor, but the universe doesn’t seem to care much for what you and I know to be impossible.” Lieutenant Dina Elfiki’s voice was sardonic as she turned her attention solely to Captain Picard. “And the fact is four supernovae have occurred in the span of the last three hours. The latest one was only nine point two billion kilometers away.”
“The Q.” Seven’s voice was cool and sure. She sighed softly as all eyes turned to her. “When the Q-Continuum were entrenched in a civil war seven years ago their weapons fire manifested on this plane as supernovae. It is probable that they are the cause of these atypical supernovae as well.”
“Well done!” Q clapped overenthusiastically after he appeared in the Enterprise’s Briefing room in a flash of white light. “At least some of you have smarts.”
“Q!” Picard’s ire was immense as he bolted from his chair. His face was red as he stomped towards Q with angry words ready to burst forth.
“Let’s you and I go somewhere more private, hmm?” Q smirked at Seven as he snapped his fingers. They vanished in a flash of brilliant light.
“What is happening? Are you responsible for the supernovae?” Seven cared not for the white nothingness that surrounded her. Her icy blue gaze was only on Q’s oddly apologetic expression.
“No, is the answer to your second inquiry. As for the first, well, let’s just say the Q-Continuum’s newest recruit is a bit, what you might consider… temperamental.” The knowing smirk pulled at Q’s lips, but it quickly vanished as he looked quite gravely at Seven. “And it’s all your fault.”
Seven’s metallic occipital implant rose at this. “Explain.”
“What your dear deceased Admiral Janeway failed to tell you was that she had a visitor the night before she embarked on that ill-conceived mission of hers. My lovely wife decided to drop by the mortal plane and warn her against going to the Cube. Much as you did. But of course dear Kathy was nothing if not supremely stubborn. She thought my wife’s warning was merely a Q game. And I will admit we do like our games. But no, the warning was quite serious and if heeded would have saved many lives, including Kathryn Janeway’s. But alas the valiant Admiral ignored Q’s words and yours and even her own common sense and went to that Cube. What she found there no one would have suspected. She—”
“Has anyone ever told you, you talk too much?”
“That’s, this is impossible!” Q’s voice was shrill as he watched with indignation as the Borg Queen walked towards him, her black hard body and fiery red hair standing out starkly against the white backdrop of somewhere and nowhere. He quickly stood between Seven and the Borg Queen when her obsidian eyes fell upon the former drone.
Seven’s heart seemed to have stopped, despite the hammering in her chest. It must have frozen, because she could feel nothing within herself that could possibly be alive. Her blood pounding loudly in her ears defied that assertion, but she still felt outside of herself. She was motionless in her ice cold fear.
“I told your wife I’d find a way to the Q and I have. Now give me what’s mine and perhaps I’ll let you and your family live.” The Borg Queen’s diamond hard body began to expel black liquid in great tendrils that reached across the nothingness and turned it to an inky substance that began to close around Q and Seven. Q’s brilliant flashes of escape were thwarted by the tentacle of black that wrapped around him and canceled out the cosmic energy usually at his disposal.
“Impossible!” Q worked frantically to release himself from the Queen’s hold, but his energy was draining away and he was becoming what he appeared to be, human, weak.
“Oh, Q, ‘impossible’ is a word humans use.” The Borg Queen shifted her attention to Seven, her gaze taking in every aspect of her form. Her curves, the metal implants, her lips, everything. “Seven of Nine, join me and I can give you what you’ve always wanted.”
Seven couldn’t look away despite her strong wish to do so. It was as if the Borg Queen’s voice was hypnotizing her, forcing her gaze. Perhaps that’s exactly what was occurring. She desperately wanted to close her eyes, to look away, as the Queen’s hard black covering melted away and standing before Seven was a vision she had imagined countless times: Kathryn Janeway, beautiful in her pale nakedness, desire exuding from her in waves.
“I can give you this body. The body you’ve craved for so long. It is yours. Join me and you will have Kathryn Janeway as you’ve always wanted. Yours, forever.” The Borg Queen drew close enough that her sweet breath brushed over Seven’s parted lips. “Isn’t that what you’ve always desired?”
Seven felt disgust fill her that couldn’t hope to compete with the burning arousal flooding her body at the Borg Queen’s words, her husky tones dropping Kathryn’s voice as Seven had never heard it, guttural with desire.
“Yes!” The scream was torn from Seven before she roughly grabbed the Queen’s slim pale body and pressed it tightly to her own as her hungry lips found the Borg Queen’s.
Seven’s lips were punishing upon the Queen’s, but the Borg Queen merely groaned deep in her throat under the assault that she knew was as much about hate as it was love. She didn’t care, Seven of Nine was hers.
“Seven! They’re dying, your friends are dying!” Q’s booming voice brought Seven roughly out of the kiss much to the Queen’s rage.
“Seven, they are irrelevant. They never wanted you to have Kathryn. They all wanted her for themselves.” The Borg Queen’s black armor reasserted itself across her pale marble-like skin before she transported Q, Seven and herself to the Bridge of the Enterprise-E.
“My God.” Picard slowly stood from his chair unable to fully comprehend what he was seeing. The Borg Queen, Seven and everything else around him faded to his peripheral as he watched the massive planet-sized Borg Cube that had been a world called Ha’Dara as it glowed brilliant from the supernova it had just devoured.
“Captain!” Worf lunged at the Borg Queen, his bat’leth in his hands, but he was quickly tossed across the Bridge by a black viscous tendril that wrapped around his body before it imprisoned him against the wall. The only reason he wasn’t dead was Seven’s desperate plea to the Queen which stayed her hand.
“I have no desire to have Locutus. He was the other one’s obsession.”
Disgusted with herself and her lack of self-control, Seven’s voice was harsh and cold. “And I suppose I have that distinction now?”
“Now. Before.” The Borg Queen seemed to shrug without moving a muscle. “Do you believe Kathryn Janeway wasn’t obsessed with you? Do you want to know how many times, deep in the lonely nights of the Delta Quadrant, she thought of you as she touched herself? How many times she found release with your name on her lips?”
“Stop.” Seven felt rage fill her at how the Borg Queen was denigrating Kathryn as her fists clenched tightly at her side. “Speaking.”
“It wasn’t enough that you killed her, was it?” Picard stood in front of the Queen, none of his fear showing on his hardened features as he looked at her with something akin to pity. “You have to destroy who she was because she’s imprinted herself on you. You can still feel her within you, fighting you. And you know that you can take her face, her voice, but you can never have what Kathryn Janeway possessed without force.”
“You know nothing.” The Borg Queen’s voice never rose from her normal even tones, but she was still heard above the blaring of the red alert klaxons. “You believe what I stole from Janeway was humanity. You are wrong. What I took from her is the reason I defeated your fleet, murdered your friends, slaughtered millions. Because of the knowledge I ripped from her mind when I destroyed her. The last thing you’ll see before you die is Kathryn Janeway smiling at your pain while I am eating you alive.”
The booming voice filled with power and anguish shook the Enterprise-E with its force as the owner of such a capability appeared in a brilliant flash of blue light. The radiantly glowing being that had suddenly appeared on the Bridge held the arm of an unbound and flabbergasted Q in one hand and his wife’s in the other. The gleaming form was too bright for mere mortals to look upon as if she were the center of a sun.
“YOU!” The Borg Queen’s cry of rage preceded her tendrils erupting from her body and ensnaring the brilliantly shining being in the black viscous material. She screamed in pain when her tentacles were burned away and retracted back within herself. Through her pain the Queen snarled at the radiant creature. “You can’t defeat me. I know the Q’s weakness!”
“Fortunately for me, I’m not a Q.” The shining light that was as blinding as it was beautiful dimmed and faded away until a single individual stood in its place. She looked deceptively small, frail, and human but all who looked upon her knew that wasn’t possibly the case. This being was something else entirely. Something both unknown and yet utterly and painfully familiar. “I’m a Janeway.”
The name was expelled upon a breath. Seven’s wide pale blue eyes filled with wonder and pain as she looked upon the being that had just been revealed to her. It was Kathryn Janeway, but she knew that was impossible. Seven quickly realized that what she considered to be possible was no longer relevant. The being before her not only possessed Kathryn’s physical appearance to a certain extent, and her voice, as did the Borg Queen, but she also possessed Kathryn’s soul. How Seven was able to know this intuitively was beyond her, but she knew it all the same. She nearly cried at the awesome wave of gratitude she felt that the Q had apparently spared Kathryn’s life, or something akin to it, for this Kathryn Janeway was no mere human.
Kathryn stood very still, inhumanly still, as if her body was actually made of the white marble it appeared to be. Her large unblinking indigo eyes never left the Borg Queen’s enraged face, but she could feel Seven. She could feel her pain, her joy, her fear and most of all; she could feel Seven’s love for her. Kathryn let it wash over her, which caused a brilliant blue glow to encircle her and gleam off the shimmering silver armor-like sheath that covered her like flowing water and light rather than anything as tangible as fabric.
“Admiral?” Picard stood frozen at the fore of his crew while they stood like statues at the awesome sight their minds’ couldn’t have possibly comprehended if it hadn’t been shifted onto their level of perception. And even then their minds boggled at the sight before them, though hope sprang forth within them at the sight of this vengeful angel, or was she a god, in their midst.
Picard’s eyes never left Kathryn’s ethereal appearance even when his ship rocked and shuddered around him. It wasn’t until he heard Q’s frantic voice calling his name after several failed attempts to transport with a repetitive snapping of his fingers.
“Picard! That sphere is going to devour your ship!”
“What can we do?” Picard knew already that his ship had already succumbed to the mighty gravity of the planet-sized sphere. This mythical like rendering of a woman he had once known was their only possible escape from the Borg. “What can we possibly do against such a threat?”
“You resist.” Kathryn’s voice filled every mind of every individual on the Enterprise-E, on Voyager, on the Gorkon and beyond.
“You are no different than the Q.” The Borg Queen felt her sphere’s natural gravitational pull drawing the Federation ships within the black depths of her vessel and knew it would only be a matter of time before she would devour them. She smirked condescendingly at this being that dared defy her. “I know everything about you down to the last molecules of your being. You can’t resist me, I have already defeated you.”
“I see what you mean. Arrogant.” Kathryn’s eyes still rested solely upon the Borg Queen but her voice was for the Q who had tried to train her, to tame her, to make her into a Q as well.
Kathryn had resisted such a persona. She was and forever would be Kathryn Janeway, no matter what her molecular makeup. The Q had made the mistake of retaining her soul and thus her humanness. She could not be a spectator to the destruction perpetrated by this being that she had a part in creating. So she had fought against Q, defied her for the three hundred years since she had become her student, though on the mortal plane their fight had taken place over a number of days.
Sudden realization made Kathryn turn her eyes to Q. She was mussed and disempowered, but not defeated, and possessed a knowing smirk. It was Q’s smile that made Kathryn comprehend that this was exactly what the Q had destined for her. They could never be seen embroiled in the affairs of mortals, but a renegade Q, their newest member, could. Her battle with the Q that had spanned many galaxies, universes, had been her training. And Kathryn knew as her eyes shone brightly when her energy field expanded further out that they had trained her well.
“Kathryn!” Seven’s immobility quickly left her when Kathryn disappeared from the Bridge in a shimmer of blue light. She lunged for that light but her hands only met air and heat from the energy left behind.
“Seven.” Picard moved next to Seven and touched her arm for her to shift her gaze to the viewscreen.
A brilliant and massive ball of blue energy filled the display screen and caused many to shield their eyes against the light, but not Seven and not the Borg Queen.
“No!” The Borg Queen vanished from the Bridge in a flurry of green beams of energy.
Seven felt relief that she could no longer feel the Queen’s presence, but her attention was solely on the battle taking place in the space around them. The radiant blue orb was ensnared by immense black tendrils that shot out of the sphere in an almost infinite number.
Hope amongst the Enterprise crew, their captain and Seven of Nine began to diminish as they watched the blue ball of energy being pulled into the gaping black depths of the Borg sphere. Even the two Q’s felt worry. That was until another sphere of energy appeared, this one a golden color, moving towards the Borg ship. Then the Q’s worry turned to panic as they watched their son come to the aid of his godmother, his Auntie Kathy.
“What does he think he’s doing?” Q knew it was quite a human thing to say, but at the moment she was feeling infantile. She looked to her husband for an explanation.
“Showing his independence, my dear wife.” Q was concerned for his son because of the danger taking on this evolved Borg Queen and the severe punishment he would receive from the Q, but he also felt pride.
“He’s going to get himself killed, or worse, turned into a human again.” Q wanted to freeze time, but her powers had been depleted and until she could return to the Continuum she was powerless to either help or defy her son’s actions.
“Don’t be coy with me. You helped dear Kathy as much as our boy is. Those little skirmishes of yours across the Universe were what alerted me to the Continuum’s newest Q in the first place. Not to mention your own meddling within mortal affairs.” Q’s smiled affectionately and broadly as he placed an arm around Q’s shoulders. “Thank you, by the way.”
“She really is the most stubborn being I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with.” Q relaxed against Q as they watched the battle upon the viewscreen as if they were a couple at a movie theatre.
“What is happening?” Seven’s calls to the Q had been ignored until her voice rose to an infuriated roar. She approached the irritated Qs with concern, but a semblance of hope on her features.
“I told you already.” Q rolled his eyes, but didn’t take his eyes away from the show. He felt pride swell as his son extracted Kathryn from the sphere’s grip and both orbs funneled energy into it causing the planet-size monstrosity to shake and quiver beneath the attack. “This is all your fault.”
“How is it Seven’s ‘fault’?” Picard’s irritation and bemusement matched Seven’s as he stood next to the fuming woman.
“Why do you think the Borg lured Kathy to the derelict sphere in the first place? She was the bait for you. The Borg Queen hated her for taking you from them and giving you a reason to want to stay imperfectly human.” Q’s voice shifted from that of a teacher speaking to a not so bright student, to mocking wistfulness. “Ah, young love.”
Q rolled her eyes at Seven’s pained expression. “Oh, don’t look so glum. She’s saving the Universe after all.”
Seven felt hope suffuse her chest at the certainty of Q’s tone which helped to lighten her own. “She will be successful in defeating the Borg Queen?”
“That particular model, probably.” Q’s brow creased as he watched Kathryn’s blue glow being enveloped completely by the sphere. “Well, maybe.”
“Help her!” Seven went to frantically shake the Qs but was stopped by a hand on her shoulder. She turned her head and saw the being she knew to be the Qs’ son.
“You help her.” q smiled before he snapped his fingers.
“What are—” Seven’s voice faded from the Bridge as her world turned into bright light.
Seven stopped speaking as she soon realized she was within the same plane of existence Q had taken her to before the Borg Queen had infiltrated it. It appeared that she had assimilated it successfully since Seven could see nothing but blackness that shifted like an unending tar pit. Within the darkness Seven could make out faint beams of blue light and felt heartened by Kathryn’s presence within the abyss.
“Seven, you have the power; she won’t kill you.” q stood before her appearing like a medieval knight, his gold plated armor gleamed brightly despite the darkness of the place they were in. He held a silver broadsword in his hands and offered it to Seven. “She loves you too much.”
Seven wasn’t sure if he was referring to the Borg Queen or this Q incarnate of Kathryn Janeway; she wondered if perhaps he meant both. She took the proffered sword from his hands and gasped as her form shimmered and shifted in golden light before she was encased by gleaming silver armor that fit her body like silk.
q smiled as he unsheathed his own sword from the scabbard on his belt. “Let’s rip this bitch apart.”
Seven felt it as she swung her sword and tore through the darkness to reveal more of Kathryn’s blue light. She knew from the logs regarding the Q civil war that the Voyager crew had been given Q-weapons that appeared to be ancient rifles and pistols. Seven knew the sword she wielded was not made of metal but pure cosmic energy. She swung it repeatedly into the black and felt her rage towards the Borg Queen and all that she had done intensify her movements to a ferocious pace.
Seven’s hands stilled upon hearing Kathryn’s anguished voice. She knew it was the Borg Queen, but she was still affected by the sight of her in such agony. The Queen’s pale body was covered with dark red blood from multiple cuts exposed between the slow shifting of the black viscous liquid that moved across her naked form.
“Please, I only wanted us to be together.” The Borg Queen fell on her knees as her body shuddered under the continuing attacks from Q’s blade and Kathryn’s energy. She reached a bloodied hand out to Seven with desperation in her eyes. “I love you, Seven.”
“Seven!” q scrambled and fought, but the tendrils that reached out and ensnared him made his movements arduous. He was silenced by a flood of hot liquid down his throat that began devouring him alive.
“You don’t have to be alone any longer, Seven.” The Borg Queen’s hypnotizing voice dropped the sword from Seven’s hand as she moved into the Queen’s arms. “You will be a part of me, forever.”
They were wrong. The Q were wrong. Seven knew she was dying as a burning sensation came over her in an unrelenting series of agonizing waves. She couldn’t even scream. Seven also knew that the Borg Queen’s carnal grin as she fed, a grotesque perversion of Kathryn’s bright and loving smile, would be the last thing she would ever see.
Seven heard Kathryn’s voice from very far away. It was muddled as if she was hearing it from deep underwater, but she still smiled upon hearing it as her world began to fade away. Just when Seven thought death was a moment away, she was pulled from its grasp by a brilliant blue light.
“Kathryn!” Seven was brought to her feet by q, who looked uninjured, his armor untarnished from the fight. Her own armor had been replaced by a Grecian dress that draped in pale, shimmering blue layers around her. Seven cared not for her appearance, or q’s revival, her eyes only on the two beings merging together in a frenzy of blue light and pitch darkness.
The Borg Queen snarled as she felt herself being burned and enveloped within Kathryn’s crackling blue blaze. Kathryn gritted her teeth against the pain of being eaten away by the black fluid covering her body. She knew neither would give an inch and so both were rapidly approaching their mutual annihilation. Kathryn only had the ability to painfully extract one word from her throat.
“No!” Seven screamed as she was transported within q’s energy and fell upon the deck of the Enterprise’s Bridge. “Kathryn!”
Seven scrambled to her feet and pushed past the immobilized crew to watch the massive explosion displayed upon the viewscreen. An explosion that size would have vaporized the surrounding solar systems and of course the Federation ships and their crew, but the Q protected them despite their inability to reverse the inevitable. Finally the space stilled, the Borg sphere rendered into cosmic dust, and Seven watched helplessly as Kathryn Janeway sacrificed herself once again.
(to be continued)